The Journey Down: Chapter Three (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 12.08.2018

Review for The Journey Down: Chapter Three on Nintendo Switch

Bwana, Kito, and Lina are back one final time for the epilogue of The Journey Down in Chapter Three. They went from learning about the fabled Underland to actually getting there, although the path made them take more than a few detours along the way. In the previous reviews, Chapter One impressed with its aesthetics and atmosphere, yet left a taste of being too short overall. Chapter Two, however, did rectify a lot of things and improved vastly upon its predecessor, so it is with expectations running high that Cubed3 now dives one final time into the tales of the Underland for a conclusion that is expected to be nothing short of epic.

Bwana, Kito, and Lina finally reached the fabled Underland. However, Chapter Three opens on a lengthy cut-scene depicting a series of events that do seem to happen over a rather long period of time after their arrival there, which means that the action here does not quite pick up exactly after the cliffhanger from before. It does take the player by surprise as this is not what was expected but, really, Chapter Three does not play along with expectations in regard to its setting, which plays in its favour since it ramps up the intrigue right from the start, a complaint levelled towards Chapter One that was already addressed by Chapter Two, but no plot details will be spoilt here.

Whereas Chapter One felt more like an homage to the Monkey Island series with its atmosphere more focused on a laid back Caribbean setting, and Chapter Two took more from the film noir tones of Grim Fandango, Chapter Three combines a bit of the former for its Underland sequences, with a distinct Blade Runner-esque atmosphere in the dystopian town of Sankara, with its hints of cyberpunk culture mingled still with the same Caribbean accents. Funnily enough, one of the buildings visited in there is called Tannhäuser, which is coincidentally a name mentioned by Rutger Hauer's character in the aforementioned movie. Furthermore, the design of the inside of that building is quite reminiscent of the one that J.F. Sebastian lives in, still in the aforementioned movie, so there does seem to be an intentional reference there.

Screenshot for The Journey Down: Chapter Three on Nintendo Switch

Interestingly, Chapter Three does shake things up a bit further by being the only chapter where the player gets to control someone other than Bwana himself, making for a pleasant surprise when it happens. Compared to the previous chapters, especially compared to Chapter Two, Chapter Three plays out in a slightly more linear fashion. That is to say that the whole chapter is divided into smaller chunks overall, where movement is restricted to a more reduced amount of locations, which makes puzzle solving a little easier since there are less possible interactions overall in each section. In that sense, then, Chapter Three is probably the easiest of the three, although still offering just about the same amount of content as the previous release. This being the conclusion to the trilogy of chapters, however, this one has a focus bigger than ever on FMV sequences for the bigger story development moments, which understandably so are more aplenty towards the end of any story. All of this combines to make the last chapter just about as long as Chapter Two was, so it does strike the right balance again in that regard.

Screenshot for The Journey Down: Chapter Three on Nintendo Switch

As speculated in the review for Chapter Two, Jamie Salisbury stepped up to the task of composing the soundtrack for this final part of the story, although the late Simon D. Souza is still credited for some additional sax, so maybe some recordings of his playing found their way somewhere into the new tracks, while some tracks already present in previous chapters he worked on make a re-appearance. Either way, the soundtrack has a slightly different vibe as a result that really is obvious in Sankara Town and all the futuristic looking locations of the game, but the shift in style complements the shift in overall atmosphere perfectly so it all actually turned out for the best, despite the passing of the original composer. The soundtrack is simply fantastic and is available for purchase over on Bandcamp with SkyGoblin deciding that all of the proceedings should be going to the Brain Tumour Charity in memory of Simon D. Souza who suffered, and eventually succumbed to, the condition in 2014. A worthy cause indeed, but what really must be stressed here is that the soundtrack is part of those distinct few nowadays that manages to be truly memorable.

Screenshot for The Journey Down: Chapter Three on Nintendo Switch

The voice acting part of the audio department is just as good as it was in previous chapters, with, again, some actors being just a bit less convincing than others, yet this is not too glaring. Among the newly hired actors for this last chapter are some great talents, such as the extraordinary Dave Fennoy, who voiced Lee Everett in the critically acclaimed The Walking Dead series by Telltale Games, whose voice will be easily recognised and immediately loved. At the end of the day, the whole of The Journey Down is well worth the interest from anyone who is even remotely a fan of old-school point-and-click adventures.

Although the second and third chapters feel reasonably sized for what they are, the current price feels a bit steep compared with other available titles at the same price, which offer a longer play time but, really, the genre is mostly that way and what separates good value for money from bad value for money is how much a game can instil a sense of replayability. The choices do not influence the outcome of events much, which would entice to restart the story multiple times, but the characters are loveable enough and the jokes funny enough, all accompanied by such nice music and voice work, that it's easy to imagine replaying these further down the line to re-experience it all over again. Therefore, it does get away with its relatively high rate of $/£/€ per hour of playtime… but just barely.

Screenshot for The Journey Down: Chapter Three on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The Journey Down, overall, started off as an interesting concept and a competent, although not flawless, adventure game in its early moments and then evolved into something more unique and special by Chapter Two, setting expectations high for its conclusion. This entry, Chapter Three, delivers on all of that, while sneakily even taking the story in a slightly different direction than what the cliffhanger at the end of its predecessor could have led gamers to believe, keeping the intrigue levels high all the way up to the end, as it is driven by different, yet equally awesome, aesthetics as its predecessor, and comes with a matching soundtrack and strong voice work to round things up neatly. Fans of the genre will find plenty to enjoy here.

Developer

SkyGoblin

Publisher

BlitWorks

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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